Fall Protection Legislation
Falls are common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Fall protection planning can help to eliminate the hazards or control the risks associated with working near openings or at heights.
Working at heights is any work where a person could fall a distance and be injured. This event might include, for example, falling from a step ladder, off of a roof, or through an unguarded hole in the ground or floor. Fall protection may also be required when working above an open top tank, bin, hopper, or vat.
Occupational health and safety laws generally require action when a worker has the potential to fall about 3 metres (10 feet). Check with your jurisdiction as exact requirements do vary. Note that most jurisdictions require the use of specific fall protection measures before, or in addition to, personal protective equipment (PPE).
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Federally Regulated Companies OH&S (COSH)
Fall Protection Systems: Section 12.10
(1) Subject to subsection (1.1), every employer shall provide a fall-protection system to any person, other than an employee who is installing or removing a fall-protection system in accordance with the instructions referred to in subsection (5), who works:
(a) from an unguarded structure or on a vehicle, at a height of more than 2.4 m above the nearest permanent safe level or above any moving parts of machinery or any other surface or thing that could cause injury to a person on contact;
(b) from a temporary structure at a height of more than 6 m above a permanent safe level; or
(c) from a ladder at a height of more than 2.4 m above the nearest permanent safe level where, because of the nature of the work, that person is unable to use at least one hand to hold onto the ladder.
Guardrails: Section 2.12
(1) Every guardrail shall be highly visible and consist of
(a) a horizontal top rail not less than 900 mm but not more than 1100 mm above the base of the guardrail;
(b) a horizontal intermediate rail spaced midway between the top rail and the base; and
(c) supporting posts spaced not more than 3 m apart at their centres.
(2) Every guardrail shall be designed to withstand a static load of 890 N applied in any direction at any point on the top rail.
SOR/94-263, s. 8(F); SOR/2000-374, s. 2.
Guardrails and Toe Boards: Section 3.8
(1) Guardrails and toe boards shall be installed at every open edge
of a platform of a temporary structure.
(2) The guardrails and toe boards referred to in subsection (1) shall
meet the standards set out in sections 2.12 and 2.13.
SOR/2000-374, s. 3.
Regulations in other Canadian Provinces may vary,
but the themes are the same for protecting people when working at height
Section 26 at:
Section 13, 36-38, 41 at:
Newfoundland and Labrador OH&S:
Prince Edward Island OH&S:
Northwest Territories OH&S:
Nova Scotia OH&S:
New Brunswick OH&S:
Fall Protection: Section 10.11
Guardrails: Section 10.12